Charles Chauvel (politician)

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Charles Chauvel
Charles Chauvel.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
In office
2006 – March 2013
Preceded byJim Sutton
Personal details
Born (1969-04-16) 16 April 1969 (age 50)
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyLabour Party
ProfessionMember of Parliament, Lawyer
Charles Chauvel MP (centre)

Charles Pierre Chauvel (born 16 April 1969) serves with the United Nations Development Programme and is a New Zealand lawyer and former New Zealand politician who was a Labour List member (2006–2013) until his resignation to take up a position with the UN.[1] He was the first New Zealand MP of Tahitian ancestry.

Early years[edit]

Coming from Gisborne, he was awarded dux of Gisborne Boys' High School. While studying at the University of Auckland, Chauvel captained the University's winning University Challenge team in 1987.[2] He was involved in student politics having been appointed as National Affairs Officer for the Auckland University Students' Association in 1987. Chauvel graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (with Honours) from Victoria University of Wellington in 1989, and a Master of Jurisprudence (with Distinction) in 1994 from the University of Auckland.[3]

In addition, the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin (Italy) awarded Chauvel the Diploma in International Labour Standards in 2001,[4] and he also holds a Certificate in Health Economics (with Merit) from Victoria University of Wellington (awarded 1993) along with a Certificate in Public International Law from the Hague Academy of International Law (1997).

Legal career[edit]

He was admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1990, and to the New South Wales (Australia) Bar in 2003.

He wrote the re-issued Public Safety Title and served as consulting editor for a re-issue of the Gaming Law Title in the Laws of New Zealand Legal Encyclopedia. Chauvel has also co-authored two books, the New Zealand Employment Law Guide (LexisNexis, 2002) and Employment Mediation (Thomson Brookers, 2005).[5] Prior to entering Parliament, Chavuel was on the board of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (2003–2005) and became a partner in the Minter Ellison Legal Group in 2000. The 2005/06 edition of the Asia Pacific Legal 500 listed him as a "Leading Individual" in employment law.[6]

Other involvements[edit]

Chauvel was a board member of the New Zealand Aids Foundation from 1990 to 1994, serving as chair in 1996. He was appointed in 1995 to the Board of the New Zealand Public Health Commission; as Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, and as Deputy Chair of Meridian Energy in 2005, having served as a director of that company from 2002.

The NZ Labour Party[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2006–2008 48th List 44 Labour
2008–2011 49th List 27 Labour
2011–2013 50th List 11 Labour
With former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

A member of the Labour Party since 1985, Chauvel has held a number of Labour Party positions including Chair of the Princes Street Branch, President of Young Labour (then known as Labour Socialist Youth), membership of the Party's controlling body (the New Zealand Council) and Policy council and co-Chair of Rainbow Labour.

Chauvel stood as Labour's electoral candidate for Maramarua, in 1990 losing to the National Party's Bill Birch. He next stood in 2005 as Labour's candidate for Ohariu-Belmont, then losing to United Future leader Peter Dunne. In the 2005 New Zealand general election, the Labour Party ranked him quite low at 44th on its party list.[7] He finally became an MP by default when Cabinet Minister Jim Sutton announced his retirement on 10 July (effective 1 August 2006) and he was next on the Party list.[8][9]

1 September 2008 saw Chauvel at number 27, up 17 places on his 2005 ranking.[10] In the 2008 general election he did not win a seat and was returned to Parliament because of his list placing only.

Chauvel was the Labour party candidate for the Ohariu electorate in the 2011 general election, he has also moved up 16 places to number 11 in the 2011 Labour Party List.[11]

In November 2007, he was Chairperson of Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee, and in early 2008 he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney-General. After the 2008 general election, he became spokesperson for Climate Change and Energy as well as Associate Spokesperson for Commerce and Justice.[12]

On 15 June 2010, Opposition Leader Phil Goff appointed him to be Portfolio Spokesperson for the Environment. He moved to the parliamentary front bench.[13]

In early 2011, he moved up one spot to number 11 on the Parliamentary Caucus rankings, and his Climate Change portfolio was replaced with Justice (as well as losing his associate roles).[14]

In February 2009, he and the former leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, Helen Clark (now the Administrator of the United Nations' Development Program), were appointed as New Zealand's inaugural representatives on the Board of the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund, the regional partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's major initiative against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.[15]

In June 2010, Chauvel was appointed as a member of the United Nations Global Commission on HIV and the Law.[16][17]

Repeal of the Provocation Defence[edit]

The issue of provocation has received much publicity in New Zealand recently due to the high-profile trials of Clayton Weatherston and Ferdinand Ambach, both of whom attempted to plead provocation in court (the latter successfully).

The repeal of the partial defence of provocation to murder (s169 of the Crimes Act 1961) has been one of Chauvel's personal issues since entering Parliament. The Law Commission, in their 2007 report on the issue, also argued for repeal.

In 2009 Chauvel and fellow Labour MP Lianne Dalziel worked together in an attempt to pass a Member's Bill repealing the provocation defence. The bill was "effectively adopted" by the Government.[18] The Crimes (Provocation Repeal) Amendment Bill passed on Thursday 26 November 2009 with 116 votes to five; the ACT Party voicing the only opposition.[19] Some submitters, including the New Zealand Law Society, viewed the repeal as a knee-jerk reaction to two specific cases. However, Chauvel had articulated a different view, that the defence had been used inappropriately for a number of years, both in New Zealand and overseas, in prosecutions over the murder of gay men, and could no longer be justified.[20]


  1. ^ "Notice of Vacancy in Seat in House of Representatives" (12 March 2013) 28 The New Zealand Gazette 889.
  2. ^ "Close Up: Charles Chauvel; Product Placement". Television New Zealand. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  3. ^ Chauvel, Charles (1994). Frustrated Fairness: Aspects of the Law relating to Compensation for Redundancy in New Zealand (Thesis). University of Auckland. OCLC 153933067. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  4. ^ 'The Achievers' Column', National Business Review, 17 August 2001, p. 38
  5. ^ Minter Ellison Rudd Watts News Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine; [1]
  6. ^ "Legal500". Legal500. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Talented Kiwis dominate Labour list". Scoop NZ. 21 March 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  8. ^ "Hon Jim Sutton retires". Scoop NZ. 10 July 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  9. ^ "New List MP For Labour Party". Scoop NZ. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Labour Party list for 2008 election announced". Scoop NZ. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  11. ^ "Labour Party List 2011". Scoop NZ. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  12. ^ "Five newcomers in Labour's shadow Cabinet". The New Zealand Herald. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Fresh look for Labour's shadow Cabinet". 10 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  14. ^ "Labour Caucus - 2011". 3 February 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
  15. ^ "Chauvel to promote Global Fund in Pacific". 27 April 2009. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  16. ^ "Chauvel on global HIV commission". 25 June 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  17. ^ "Labour MP Chauvel appointed to new UN commission". 25 June 2010. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  18. ^ Getting rid of the 'Gay panic defence' Retrieved 7 February 2010
  19. ^ "Provocation defence repeal 'knee-jerk reaction'". The New Zealand Herald. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  20. ^ Chauvel Charles Charles Chauvel MP: Good riddance to the 'Gay Panic Defence' Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine 26 November 2009 Retrieved 30 May 2013

External links[edit]